On the 3rd of May, the Public Authority for Media of Saudi Arabia made a noteworthy announcement through Twitter, revealing that Final Fantasy 16 would not be released in the country. The primary reason behind this decision was the unwillingness of the game’s publisher to modify certain content that was deemed necessary.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t an isolated case, as several other games, including The Last of Us Part 2, Spec Ops: The Line, Fallout: New Vegas, and various titles in the God of War franchise, have been banned in the past.
It’s often challenging to determine the specific reasons behind these bans, but many people have raised speculations regarding Final Fantasy 16’s ban. Some of the game’s mature content, such as extreme violence, drug use, and sexual content, could potentially have been the cause.
However, rumors of a significant homosexual character have been circulating for a while now, leading some to believe that LGBTQ+ representation may be the underlying cause of the ban. Nevertheless, this theory remains unverified, and there may be other factors at play.
Additionally, Hattan Tawili, the board’s general supervisor for video games, previously revealed that a significant 2023 game would not be released in Saudi Arabia due to the company’s refusal to modify the game’s content to align with the region’s standards.
Although several factors could have contributed to the ban, the presence of sexual content, especially LGBTQ+ content, appears to be the most likely reason, given the nature of other games that have been banned or not banned in the region.
Despite the ban, Final Fantasy 16 is still scheduled to be released for PlayStation 5 on June 22, 2023. However, there is a possibility that other Middle Eastern countries may follow Saudi Arabia’s footsteps and ban the game in the future.
As such, it’s unclear how this will impact the game’s sales and reception in the region, especially given the significant fanbase that the franchise has in the Middle East.
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